1828 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Bp. Reginald Heber

Edward Smedley to E. M. Smedley, April 1828; Poems of the late Rev. Edward Smedley (1837) 311-12.



We are deeply interested in Bishop Heber's Journal, which I very earnestly press upon your notice. I am ashamed to think that I have formed so imperfect an estimate of his character. The promise of Palestine was so unusually brilliant that I was disappointed in not having a succession of still finer poems from him; and his hymns, for the most part, I considered to be a failure. But some short pieces in the present work convinced me that he possessed at least the power of writing up to the standard of his first poem; and of his personal character, it is scarcely possible to speak in adequate praise. It presents a very rare union of piety (of the most exalted cast, and wholly untinctured by fanaticism), promptitude, decision, meekness, courage, and judgment, with a gentleness, meekness, tenderness, and affection, which no woman ever surpassed. Exclusive of the great charm of everything relating to the individual, the book abounds with curious and attractive matter, and you must borrow or steal it; it is too dear to buy, unless at half-price in a Book Society.